Supplier Tips

There is an alternative to car valeting – and it could cost just 60p a wash

Time 11 months ago

In June, we wrote about how we are helping the automotive sector reduce its costs and increase cashflow.

Since then, we have seen previously unprecedented levels of interest for our car-wash machines from the automotive sector wanting to take advantage of our £1-per-wash offer.

The conversations with dealers, dealer groups, manufacturers, PDI centres and remarketing companies are all very similar and nearly always start either with the same question or a statement:


‘How does this £1-per-wash offer work and what’s the catch?’ or ‘I have an existing contract.’

Quite simply, there is no catch. There is no easier way to rationalise your business. Reduce your costs, extend your service offer.

If a dealer has an existing contract, many are based purely on what labour is required each day and is requested online the day before.

Our machine works alongside existing contracts and valeting staff. The difference is the dealer requires less labour for each day and saves nearly 60 per cent of costs.


For just £1 per wash, Istobal will install a high-spec car-wash machine for £0 capital outlay. Your customer’s car receives a high-pressure pre-wash, wash and wheel wash, dry and wax in just seven minutes.

A basic program for a pitch wash takes less than two minutes. This also includes chemicals, servicing and maintenance. Depending on volume, this could be as low as 60p per wash.

This offers a significant saving on traditional valeting methods using payroll staff and valeting contractors.

Our research shows that to valet 40 cars per day requires five staff at an average cost of £70 per person. That’s £350 per day.

It also shows that 70 per cent of the total time taken to valet a car is spent on washing the exterior of the vehicle, with just 30 per cent spent on the interior.

Based on these figures, a car-wash machine washing 40 cars per day would cost a dealer £40 per day.

Compare this to £245 – the equivalent cost for 70 per cent of the valeter’s time.

That’s a saving of £205 a day – or £50,000 per year.

Straight on to the bottom line, per site. Just by tweaking the process slightly. Reduced staff on site, fewer touchpoints on a vehicle.

A dealer would have to sell a lot of cars to add this to their bottom line.


A car-wash machine provides a professional look and the cars are washed with a professional, consistent finish every time at the touch of a button, just as they get when they roll off a production line.

Automotive businesses that have a machine installed do not return to washing their car by hand.

Dealers have approached us as they are seeing the impact that Covid and Brexit Mk1 has had on the availability of both quality and quantity of staff available to businesses on a daily basis.

Brexit Mk2 and IR35 (off-payroll working rules) will reduce this again in 2021.

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Globally, Istobal has three manufacturing plants, nine subsidiaries and distributors in 75 countries.

With more than 1,500 installations in premium car manufacturers’ production lines, car dealerships, petrol forecourts and with some of the largest truck and bus transport hubs in the UK alone, we are one of the largest 100 per cent privately owned vehicle-wash manufacturers in the world.

Thanks to Istobal for supporting this article. For more information, click here or contact Istobal on 01299 826967 or email [email protected].

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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